Looks like the winter chill is catching up with Venturewoods. Was at the contentsutra mixer couple of days back, and the participation seemed to be good.
One thing that I have been thinking about is the set of online businesses that are ripe for indian market. In 1999-2000 the dotcom boom lasted only 3 months in India, and as such, some ideas and teams that might have had merit could not get funded. Five years later, a lot of interest is coming back. One set of ideas are clearly around “concept arbitrage” — bring and localize ideas that have been successful elsewhere. JobsAhead was an example of this, so was Baazee. Some examples of obvious holes:
1. Online consumer travel. Makemytrip got funded few months back, and I hear some others have funding too. This space is getting competitive. Are there models which people are not looking at but are valuable? A travelog site for example (check out my Leh travelog).
2. Ecommerce — there is still no amazon.com equivalent in India. I still buy most books I need from amazon, and pay $7-8 per book for shipping. And I spend around $500 per year doing this. Firstandsecond and Fabmall started with promise but (imho) succumbed to low funding and premature entry (though I believe, both sites are still there and may make a comeback).
Horizontal portals are taking some of this action away, in travel, in ecommerce and so on. But, focussed brands will have potential.
Would love to hear about big ideas waiting to happen in India (either concept arbitrage, or otherwise)… Any thoughts?
- Promoters or Entrepreneurs – A choice for Private Equity players - August 3, 2019
- Startup Marathon Mindset - March 25, 2019
- What’s your Customer Culture? - March 4, 2019
Another interesting idea which might be a BIG hit in India…
The society, local network of India is more socially active and networking than the nuclear family model of West. Local news, local tips, local gossip, local happenings take a precedence, even before National events.
Judy’s Book, Inc., the free online community where people share valuable, real-life information about the best and worst services and products in their LOCAL areas, secured $8 million in Series B funding led by Mobius Venture Capital, Ignition Partners and Ackerley Partners.
Soon India might have something like http://www.kittyparty.com
where all the housewife (homemakers) can create an active local commerce network
Reminds me of THINK GLOBAL, BUT ACT LOCAL !
Sucess is bound to follow in ventures where there is:
2) Faster, efficient, customer-delight service
3) The same similar offline business model sucks and customers are looking for an alternative mode of doing the transaction
Five businesses come to my mind:
1) ONLINE Trading
2) Online Recruitment Services
3) Online Ticketing Services
4) Online Realestate/Wine Websites
5) Expatriate/NRI Centric models
1) Online Trading Websites
U might have seen the frenzy created by indiabulls.com and their successful IPO and the spectacular results as people embraced online investing faster rather than theoffline broker relationship as it bypasses all the hassels
hdfcsec.com, icicidirect.com, paisabuilder.com (IDBI’s new venture), kotakstreet.com,sharekhan.com (SSKI grp) are some of the equity trading portals doing good business as equities both – primary + secondary market, options, NEW IPOs, commodity trading etccan all be done direct from ur online account. So the loop among U, ur bank account, ur online broker is complete.
Here in US similar models like E*Trade, Ameritrade, Scottsdirect, TAIB have similar models
2) ONline Recruitment
BOOM or BUST, there is always demand for recruitment/job websites and niche domains to co-exist. http://www.dice.com is a complete IT focused job portal in US which does not have a similar player in Indian space.
Naukri.com and monster.com were doing brisk business post 2001 when almost most of the sectors were in a slump following dot com bust and 9/ 11.
Leading Newspapers are slowly moving into this space, like the Times of India’s timesjobs.com portal
3)Online ticketing Services
Just imagine the pain, time involved in buying a train ticket and movie tickets for a new movie. The thought lf kills the idea of planning such an event.
Now online ticketing portal by Indian railways is doing good business and quarterly sales are shooting up by more than 100%.
Same is the case where Movies/multiplexes are moving towards online ticket services and some players are even delivering them personally thru couriers to the customers residence when they book their movie tickets online
PVR Cinemas -http://www.pvrcinemas.com/pvr/index.asp
4) Online Realestate/ Wine sites
Our own Mahesh Murthy (Passionfund) funded an idea which was ahead of its time for the Indian markets in 2000.
WIne.com does lucrative online business in US and a country like India which has taboo attached to drinking is changing fast with the Genx taking over.
Wine companies are seeing their reveneus climb northwards as evident by the results, expansion plans of Chamagne Indage, Grover Wineyards, Sular vineyards, but a good Inda centric brewery site with buy/sell/faqs/online social networking for drinkers is missing. Mahesh funded Tulleeho is trying to fill this gap.
Realestate has been liberalized and the industry is expected to be $100 bilion by 2010. The offline market is fraught with brokers, dalals, with dubious track records, unclear titles, no transparency in the entire process and real estate is branded as not a liqufiable asset like cash or shares as the entire transcation to buy or sell would take months.
If this entire process is made easy and transparent, then people would flok to online space.
US has some good models like zipRealty Inc., which is using the Internet in a futuristic way to buy and sell homes, cutting costs in the process >> http://www.ziprealty.com
India has woken up to this potential and we see a new wave of portals from
the early movers like
http://www.99acres.com/ ( NAUKRI.com’s realty venture)
http://www.indiaproperty.com/ (SIFY’s new Realty venture)
5) Expatriate/NRI Centric models
Hassle free Remittance services for NRIs like WesternUnion, Times of Money (http://timesofmoney.com/homepage.jsp) hold potential keeping the umbilical cord active for expatriate remittances to anywhere, anytime, anyamount (as long as it is less than $2k) in India witin 24 hours
Sulekha.com >> which provides many services for Indians who entered US for the first time or for job/accomodation searches for NRIs in US
Ur MAN in INDIA (http://www.yourmaninindia.com/ ) >>> TTK group’s portal which provides various services for NRIs outside INDIA, who want small things still done in India but can’t ask their parents to take care of these activities as the parents may not be aware, illeterate, old, disabled etc. provide good market
Possibly, some of these will bypass the web in India/China. The device to go after here is the mobile phone – cause the penetration those have vs the desktop is really something, AND exploding.
I can immediately think of these models.
1. Autoweb.com (Autobyutel.com): Car lead referral services for dealers
2. Carsdirect.com (May be dealerinvoice.com too): Online Car Quote, selling
By next decade, India/ China may be a bigger market for these models as comapred to US. And because of their sheer size it would make sense for Indian companies to acquire even the original companies. May be like some reverse acquisition.
dunno about e-commerce, but was glad to see another Ladakh affinciado here!
Check out my unfinished symphony…
Someday, I intend doing not just a travel site, but a live one too – bed n breakfast in the Himalayas someplace…